Resilient and balanced as always, the UH-Hilo women’s volleyball team beat Concordia 25-21, 9-25, 25-21, 25-14 on Saturday in Irvine, Calif., to finish with a 3-1 record on its road trip, which may be a case of too little, too late.
The Vulcans (20-7, 15-4 Pacific West Conference) had a chance to jump into a first-place tie with Azusa Pacific on Thursday but were swept by the Cougars.
APU (24-4, 18-2) took down another contender in Hawaii Pacific on Saturday in straight sets, clinching a share of the PacWest title with its eighth straight win.
In the latest West region poll, the Cougars were ranked sixth and the Vulcans 10th, down a spot from the first poll. The next poll is Nov. 20, and it appears unlikely UHH will move into the top eight.
“Happy with the road trip overall, we just didn’t play as well as we could have against Azusa, which is a really strong team,” coach Chris Leonard said. “All four of these teams are big and tall and the challenge is to be on your game.”
After a slow start, Bria Beale got there against Concordia (16-10, 10-8), smacking 11 kills, and Emily Wade posted 10 kills on .438 hitting with eight blocks. Armani Moultrie and Alexandria Parisian each had seven kills and Amber Tai added six for the Vuls, who hit .185.
“One of the nice things about this team, and I’ve said it all year, is that when one player is down, another can pick up the slack,” Leonard said.
Patience O’Neal tallied 11 kills for the Eagles, who hit .142.
The champions of the PacWest, GNAC, and CCAA earn automatic berths to the eight-team NCAA West regional. The rankings will determine the five at-large bids to the West regional.
UHH closes its season at home against Holy Names (Wednesday) and Academy of Art (Saturday), two teams from the bottom half of the PacWest.
“We need to finish with two strong with wins and then seem what the regional rankings have to say,” Leonard said.
APU closes its season against Concordia and Fresno Pacific, teams the Cougars have already beaten.